Georgia House votes to give some big boat owners a tax break

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Georgia House votes to give some big boat owners a tax break

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The Georgia House passed legislation giving a tax break to the owners of high-end boats when they get their vessels retrofitted or repaired in Georgia. (Henrik Fisker)

The Georgia House on Thursday overwhelmingly backed giving some owners of big boats and yachts a tax break if they get their vessels repaired or retrofitted in Georgia.

House Bill 125, which passed the House 152-14, was sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, and is aimed at attracting businesses that maintain and repair big boats.

“Currently we don’t have a large-boat repair industry in Georgia,” said House Ways & Means Chairman Jay Powell, R-Camilla, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Under the legislation, any parts, engines or equipment above $500,00o that a boat owner spends to repair, retrofit or maintain their boat, would be exempt from state sales taxes.

The only lawmaker who raised a question about the bill was Rep. Michele Henson, D-Stone Mountain, who asked that its implementation be delayed a year. She noted that some state employees weren’t getting pay raises this year at the same time lawmakers were considering the tax break for boat owners.

Powell said the tax break in HB 125 is similar to one in Florida, with whom Georgia is often competing for business.

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